The Saskatchewan Roughriders have a new fan, a man from Merrick, New York.
After the NFL Superbowl in February this year, Joe Lozito was looking for a football fix during the NFL’s offseason.
Lozito put the word out on social media he was looking for a CFL team to cheer for as the league’s training camp was starting in May.
He got an overwhelming response from Rider Nation and he ended up heading to Hamilton in July to see a game between the Riders and Tiger-Cats.
Now Lozito will be taking in his first Riders home game, the Labour Day Classic.
Despite the Riders not having the best season, Lozito is still looking forward to the experience.
“I tend to be pretty optimistic when it comes to sports … I tend to be more methodical and maybe people don’t want to hear it (but) it’s still pretty early in the season,” he said.
Lozito said just one win could get things back on track, “you just have to make the playoffs and then anything can happen.”
The Labour Day weekend is a staple of Canadian football, a great example of rivalries around the league and is considered the midway point of the season.
“When you put your foot to the gas and really get it going, it be nice to get a couple of wins here before the Labour Day game and keep the momentum going,” Lozito said.
Due in part to being on the Gormley Show, fans reached out to Lozito in January of this year to see if he’d like to come see the Riders in action at home.
Lozito said it wasn’t financially feasible for them to come out to Regina from New York, as he wanted to bring his family with him.
“I think it was just some really, really nice, generous people pulled some money together and ended up getting me a flight and game ticket and the rest is history,” he said.
“To me, that’s totally Canadian.”
It will be a quick turnaround for Lozito, with his family still at home and his son starting school the week after the game, he’ll come into the city on Saturday and head home on Monday.
“Hopefully next season I can bring the whole family out there and spend some time, see what Regina and Saskatchewan have to offer,” he said.
The Labour Day Classic against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is Sept 2 at Mosaic Stadium.
Kickoff is 1 p.m.